Catholic-New Iberia defensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk emerged as a standout player as the season wore on. Now, he's poised to become a major college prospect given his commitment to self-improvement and his academics.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end was to attend the Ole Miss' Junior Day on Saturday and will attend LSU's next weekend. He has spent his time since the football season ended working out and playing center on the basketball team.
He weighed about 240 pounds when Catholic-NI's season came to s stunning end with a 17-7 loss to West St. Mary in the first round of the playoffs. The Panthers went into the Class 3A playoffs with an 8-1 record and one of the favorites to contend for a state crown. Since that time Dworaczyk (pronounced Door-rah-zic) has gained about 20 pounds, mostly muscle, he said.
"Coaches are really impressed with that," said Dworaczyk, who said his best 40 time is a 4.9. "I'm in better shape, running a lot more. I think I can get down to 4.8 or 4.7 in the summer. I feel as though when summer time comes along I'm going to try to go to some camps and I think my 40 time is going to improve through basketball season and different things like that."
Dworaczyk has been receiving mail from LSU, Ole Miss, Auburn, Louisiana-Lafayette, Notre Dame, Harvard and Yale.
"Ole Miss, LSU and Auburn are the three schools sending me the most information,' he said. "Like today, for example, I got eight letters from those schools alone. Two or three of them is like the motivational letters, telling me what leadership is about, and how they have an excellent D-line coach coming into LSU and different things like that.
"Then about once or twice a week I'll get something like 'we're really looking at you as a prospect and we want you to attend our junior day.' "
"I'm really open to any coaches or any college right now," Dworaczyk said. "If you saw my list, I have Notre Dame and I got two letters from them. But Notre Dame is a college that if there is any college that would offer me scholarship, I would go to Notre Dame. That would be the school. And then LSU, because growing up in New Iberia this is a pretty big LSU town. I would love to go to LSU."
Dworaczyk, who boasts a 3.5 GPA in honors classes, has been humbled by a lot of the recruiting interest he has received. It has motivated him to get better on all fronts.
"For me this is really an awesome experience," Dworaczyk said. "I just recently subscribed to Rivals and PelicanPreps and all that. I've been up, checking everybody out. Looking at top defensive ends in the nation, watching their videos and seeing what are they doing to be considered a top prospect -- what do I need to be doing?"
"Seeing some of the defensive ends and seeing how explosive they are, I'm really and truly looking forward to the spring so much right now. I feel as though I finished the season off so strong so that when spring football comes around hopefully I'm going to be a beast."
Dworaczyk is currently a lesser known prospect than teammate Mitch Joseph, who is a standout tight end for Catholic-NI. That appears to be changing. Another teammate, wide receiver Chase Moore, is expected to be recruited as well.
"Me and Mitch are kind of in a competition, who's going to go to a better school," Dworaczyk said. "He said 'I got my Nike Training camp letter' then I show him my LSU letters and stuff like that. We basically get the exact same mail, though."
Last season was Dworaczyk's first playing primarily defense, but he has experience on the offensive line and is expected to play both ways next year for coach David Comeaux's Panthers. He played a little on offense as a freshman and primarily offensive line as a sophomore.
It took him a little time to get fully acclimated to the defensive side, but he got better.
"I started the season off real slow and in district I stepped it up a lot," Dworaczyk said. "A lot of my stats were from district. I feel like I finished the district off pretty strong.
"Next year we might be a little soft on the offensive line," he said. "We experienced a little double tight end, with me and Mitch both playing tight end, and so I think we might be going with that again this year so I might be playing a lot of both ways."
Good grades and being good in athletics is nothing new in the Dworaczyk household. Dworaczyk's older brother, Jacob Dworaczyk, is a senior pitcher on what is expected to be a good Catholic-New Iberia baseball team. He actually pitched a no-hitter deep into the game against highly touted St. Thomas More and got the win the other night.
"He's being recruited by Nicholls," Dworaczyk said. "He's pretty excited about that. I'm smart and I'm pretty well off in my academics, but he's just naturally a genius. He made a 32 on his ACT and has this awesome GPA. He's looking at Nicholls or Tulane."